Living in the Museum

YOU ARE HERE -> 1950s Many 1950s visitors to Ashland, The Henry Clay Estate, the newly opened historic house museum in Lexington, Kentucky, would never have realized that the mansion continued to be a private home.  This reality was downplayed—if not hidden—from public view for nine years. Museum Director Lorraine Seay’s public hospitality was complicated … More Living in the Museum

Interpreting Henry Clay in a Charming Home Environment

YOU ARE HERE -> 1950s-1970s Unlike many historic house museums, the public display of Ashland’s collection began during the domestic life of the founder’s—Henry Clay’s—home some 150 years before.  The coexistence of home and museum actually has a long history at Ashland; exhibiting and interpreting artifacts for the public has been occurring for almost two … More Interpreting Henry Clay in a Charming Home Environment

Ashland Restoration Raises Interpretive Questions

YOU ARE HERE -> 1990s The 1991-92 restoration was a major turning point in Ashland’s history.  Not only was the house repaired and renovated, but its interpretation was thoroughly examined, questioned, and redone.  The restoration project became a remarkable opportunity to consider the interpretation “from scratch,” curator Eric Brooks says.  For the first time people … More Ashland Restoration Raises Interpretive Questions

Messy Generational ‘Layers’ Complicate Museum’s Task

YOU ARE HERE -> 1950s Historic house museums often face difficult decisions regarding which period of the house’s history to interpret.  This interpretive decision has proven to be a most complicated issue at Ashland.  Not only is Henry Clay’s original house gone, but five generations of his family occupied the estate and much of the … More Messy Generational ‘Layers’ Complicate Museum’s Task